Seattle v. Dallas
In the last few months, the question I've been asked the most is "How do you like Dallas?"
I thought I'd put together a little list to show off the biggest differences I have been able to identify. Hopefully, if you're considering a move, this comparison can be helpful to you!
Check out The Proposal to read how Ravi proposed to me in the Space Needle!
Before we moved, I obviously watched every video on YouTube about the Pros and Cons of Dallas. Everyone complained about traffic. Every single person went on and on about how terrible the traffic is here. I haven't sat in traffic longer than 20 minutes since I got here. It does take a long time to get from one place to the next, but that's distance, not traffic. It does take 25 minutes to get most places in the metroplex. "Traffic" in Dallas seems to mean "going less than the 70 mph speed limit".
Comparatively, Seattle is less pleasant. I left downtown Seattle once at 3:00pm on a Friday and sat on the same block in First Hill for 38 minutes. If we don't plan our departure, it can take over 3.5 hours to go 71 miles on I5. THAT is traffic.
Another driving difference is the choices that people make on the road. People in Dallas drive riskier. They speed frequently and drive aggressively- sometimes really aggressively. They're generally friendly, though, and make room for you to change lanes.
In Seattle, most people are passive aggressive. They will pretend not to see your blinker for several miles before you can change lanes. Everyone has to slow down to a crawl to see the guy pulled over taking a phone call in his Suburu. If all the lights are flashing red in an intersection, we may never get anywhere.
Last thing about driving- people in Dallas always talk about how much money is spent on the roads. It must just be because there are a TON of roads, since it'd definitely not spent on maintenance. Flash flooding is hard on the roads and shifting clay causes lots of potholes. I don't love them. It's hard on my car. I get why everyone has a 4x4 here. Seattle drivers are frustrating, but at least the roads are smooth.
A couple days ago, Seattle started snowing. That's pretty abnormal already, since it typically goes into the high 30s/low 40s in the daytime and then well below freezing at night. Winters are often icy, but rarely snowy in Western WA.
In the summers, the temperatures hover in the 70s or low 80s and the sun's out. They are mild and gorgeous summers, although they're cut short these days due to smoke issues from wildfires on the west coast.
In between the seasons, it is a grey dreary mess. It never downpours, it just mists. It's like Chinese Water Torture, if they could figure out how to deplete your vitamin D reserves at the same time.
So far, Dallas is like vacation. There's been 2 days that have gotten down to freezing. Winter was so short. The mornings are warm and balmy. The breeze is welcome. It feels like springtime in Cancun. Two days ago, it was 80 degrees and sunny outside. My friend, Mindy, and I went for a jog in tank tops.
It has rained a couple times and it's a lot more significant than in Seattle. When it rains, it thunderstorms. It's beautiful. You can see the lightning for miles and miles. It does flood pretty frequently, so it's probably best to just hang out at home if it's supposed to storm that day.
Everyone's been warning me about the summers. It's supposed to be over 100 for like 8-10 weeks. I'm not particularly bothered by that. I had to stay inside all day in Seattle, so it's not that much different to stay inside a few days in Dallas.
Pools are useful in Dallas. Motorcycles and convertibles are worth having here. I can open my blinds without being disappointed. Dallas weather wins.
Cost of Living
The cost of living is the most significant difference we've experienced. It seems like everything is more affordable here.
Gas is $1.89 cents today. I fill my Toyota Corolla's tank for $20. In Seattle, I never bought a full tank of gas for less than $35. Ever.
Our apartment in Seattle was a 2 bedroom townhome, 1100 sq ft, for $1575 +utilities. We now rent a 1 bedroom apartment, 800 sq ft +200 sq ft patio, for $1100 after promotions. The pricing actually may be similar, but I'm also living in the most luxurious apartment I've ever seen. I have an extra-wide jetted bathtub, granite countertops, and 15 ft ceilings. It's a major upgrade.
Groceries are 30% cheaper, so I can afford exclusively organic groceries here. In Seattle, I couldn't afford to do that on a regular basis.
My car insurance is cheaper, my Ubers are cheaper, my internet is cheaper (F*ck Comcast). Even my electricity is cheaper here because we get to choose a supplier that offers us packages to choose from.
In Dallas, we're able to bank an extra $1000 per month in a savings account that we couldn't do before. It's a huge upgrade to live here. Not only is the cost of living better here, but the standard of living is way better here, too.
By conservation, I am referring to what the city and residents do to be environmentally conscious. Seattle wins this one.
In Seattle, I was used to recycling. We use compostable flatware instead of plastic. We never use Styrofoam for anything. There were compost bins at most restaurants. Plastic bags weren't available in stores.
Dallas hasn't quite gotten there, yet. I hate plastic shopping bags. They aren't sturdy enough to use them for anything more than a little trash can liner. It sounds like they tried to implement paid paper bag policies here, but customers refused and would walk to their car with arms full of groceries. Apparently, it was a whole charade. Whole Foods uses recycled plastic flatware instead of compostable. WHOLE FOODS. Our apartment complex doesn't recycle. They also run the sprinklers every night, which is a totally foreign concept to me since it seems like it wastes a lot of water.
It's pretty frivolous, in my opinion.
Earth is pretty great, so let's not f*ck it up.
Attitude & Mindset
The most obvious difference between Texas and western Washington is the political opinion. Actually, the opinions on a lot of things are different here.
Texas is a red state and Washington is a blue state. Biggest difference about the experience is that people in Dallas don't shove their beliefs down anyone's throat. I can't say the same for people in Seattle.
I'm moderate leaning right, so I tend to be a little bit red. I'd call it burgundy colored... or wine. Most people here seem to avoid conversations about politics. I've been in situations where they've steered the conversation specifically to avoid it. When it's come up, people politely nod and say "I respect that you feel that way" when views differ.
In Seattle, people get very aggressive when you aren't a stark liberal. No one gets emotional until someone has an issue with abortion. No one gets excited about anything until someone didn't vote. Sometimes, for no reason at all, President Trump becomes the subject of an inappropriate comment that had nothing to do with the conversation. I am respectful, so long as the other person can articulate why they believe what they believe. I unfortunately have met very few people capable of that.
In Dallas, I haven't met anyone that doesn't value a day's work. Most people seem to believe they are paid fairly. Many people here are wealthy, rather than rich. The general consensus is that it's good to have a job and that people deserve the money they work for. Even in the lowest economic class in Dallas, I have yet to meet anyone that is unemployed. I've seen about a dozen homeless people in the entire metroplex since I moved here. That doesn't mean there isn't more, but I do think it speaks to a type of mentality here.
In Seattle, there's a homeless epidemic. It is cheap to live in temporary makeshift housing and the government allows people to do so. That's millions in potential property taxes that aren't being paid because these people don't have property. The air of entitlement is thicker in western WA than anywhere else I've been in the world. People believe they deserve higher wages. People believe they deserve free healthcare. People believe they deserve free college education. People believe they deserve free public transportation. People believe they are entitled to those things, like the government or Amazon has a responsibility to support them. It's nauseating and lazy.
People in Dallas are friendlier and more genuine. Every time I tell sometime I've just moved here, it's as if they're congratulating me on a new baby. "Welcome, we're so happy to have you," "I hope you find the people here to be the nicest you've ever met," "I hope you've settled in nicely." When you invite people to have a drink or visit your home, they actually set a date to do it. Strangers in the bar start pleasant conversations with you. You couldn't leave your home here without having a nice chat with someone.
When I lived in Downtown Seattle, I once tried to see how many days I could go without speaking to another human being. 8 days. I went to class, took the bus, ordered coffee via an app, went dancing, purchased flowers from the market, took a walking tour, had EAT24 deliver my dinners. Didn't say a word to anyone for 8 whole days. No one said anything to me, though, either.
People in Seattle are really flakey, too. I would say most people are guilty of having done it at least one time consciously- cancelling a meeting of some kind last minute just because they didn't want to go right then. This is with friends, colleagues, or events. The time you should be getting ready, you just think "nope, I'll stay home" and you text some kind of ridiculous excuse. Your friends know. Your work can't blame you. You often waste the cost of a ticket to something. I've certainly done it.
Ultimately I believe Dallas is a better place to live. Our stress levels are lower. Our money is more valuable. People are nicer. Ravi and I just feel like we've upgraded our life in such a big way by moving here. Hell, we'll be able to buy a home here! In Seattle, you'd be looking at $450k for a 2500 sq ft 3 bedroom in a nice suburb. Here, you can get a 4500 sq ft 5 bedroom in a nice suburb with a pool in the backyard for $350k.
I love it here.